Sarah (valentinite) wrote,

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AA:I thoughts

Okay, in entirely too much TL;DR, my thoughts on Ace Attorney Investigations. (I have no Edgeworth icons. I should fix that. Though that's partly because almost all my PW icons are snagged from past and present RP journals, and I cannot write Edgeworth to save my soul.)

I kept a running log of things, but they were mostly "lol", because I was sick and loopy. So I've edited it down to the general comments.

First, a sort-of-objective style review of it as a game -- I got into these because I saw a review about there being a bunch of DS games that returned to the grand tradition of graphical adventures, and citing PW as a good one.

I'd heard some talk about it being too easy -- I found it harder than Apollo Justice but easier than T&T, and I'm not sure where I'd put it against the first two. I actually had more Game Overs in this than most of the others -- I think the fact that the health bar never dropped more than 20% (and that was like what, once?) for a mistake meant I assumed I'd never have a problem, and then was at 10% and past the point where it would let me save on a variety of occasions. I generally don't find these games difficult -- I didn't realize you could save mid-case until partway into 1-5, and I only had to restart a chapter once before then, sometime late in 1-4. I'd love a more difficult Ace Attorney game, but I didn't mind the difficulty level as-is.

The new interface? Generally a huge step up. I love being able to see the sprite for the protagonist outside of court, and to be able to have three characters on screen. (Did we ever get four? I don't know. Some day I will write that essay on how the games take a lot of stylistic cues from Greek drama, which had really limited numbers of characters onstage at a time. And do it really well.) I did sometimes feel like it was more linear -- I could rarely wander around, but that a) fit the very tight timeline and b) the others aren't any less linear, you can just wander around and examine things more. It also did NOT have any fetch-quest type things, which was nice. (Case 1-3, I am looking at you. With an icy glare.) And the little sprites are adorable. Basically, I'd love to see it make a transition back to the investigation sequences of the main game series.

The logic system? I liked it, but I didn't love it. It felt way too linear at times -- especially at the points where you got a bunch of things dumped in all at once. I'd rather some sort of "think about object X with object Y or person Z" where you can just mix and match all the clues you have, rather than separating them into two bins. Or something. It felt a little clunky.

The music was phenomenal. As usual. But I knew that already, as the soundtrack has been on my machine at work for a while. It's not the Xenogears soundtrack (one of my favorite scores for anything ever, be it game/movie/tv/whatever) by any means, but it is good video game music.

And now to characterization and general fandorkery

Bullet point the first: okay, who in the series design staff had a parent go missing at a young age and turn up later only to die before they knew who they were.

Whew. That said, my actual #1 observation was that this game was the most fanservicey thing I've seen in a long time, and I'm a Doctor Who fan. (For those not Who-savvy, the show has been around since 1963, and most of the new series production and acting leads grew up on the show and were serious fans. So there were some "OMG I CAN DO THIS I'M IN CHARGE" moments at times. But enough about Who. So many cameos, inside jokes, references -- I did wonder how well the game would hold up for new players, although I think a lot of them were nicely subtle. Or unsubtle, in the case of Oldbag and Larry, but you do not need to have played the earlier games to understand their roles. (And either find them funny or not.) Lots of little touches -- the sly nod to the Takarazuka production with the mention of a Steel Samurai musical (examine the figurine in the office in case 1, I think). Etc.

2. In the same vein as 1 -- Edgeworth felt more like fanon Edgeworth than I'd expected. More of a fanboy, more of a bit of a prude/shy/whatever. And I agree with a bunch of folks over on Court-Records that he was too nice in the flashback case, even if it was awesome enough to forgive a slightly too-sweet Bratworth. And fussier at times -- his language was a little overblown occasionally.

3. I had mixed feeling on the art design -- it very clearly has some new staff on it, and the game was generally gorgeous, but some of the sprites were too cartoon-y for me. Especially the mouths, and especially smile/laugh sprites. (And not just Yew's, though hers was the worst offender.) Edgeworth's was generally solid, though. A little too prettyboy at times, but generally it's very nice without making him into someone he's not. Like his smirkface -- the old art in places failed anatomy with that one, which always irked me, but the new one is lovely.

4. I'd seen the demo translation, and then the English demo, with the shout-out to Phoenix, but I'd also heard the reference was cut in the actual game. Not in the English version, at least. And there were so many more of them -- it was kind of adorable. Including the absolute ode to him at the end of case 5.

5. This was the first time I actually really got any feeling that Edgeworth was gay. Yes, I am late to the fanon bandwagon -- I've always shipped Edgeworth/Phoenix but it was really Phoenix's characterization that drove that for me. But this game was fanservice-y for a lot of Edgeworth pairings, only one of them heterosexual. Except not at all for Edgeworth/Franziska (which I was never fond of, but would read if well written and actually addressing the quasi-incest angle). And that's most of what I'll say about shipping, because as much as I like shipping in this fandom, it's not what makes me love it. I love the characters first for themselves. And only then like to toss some of them into ships.

6. Who put Redd White on the localization staff? Personage? Impactful? The typos didn't bother me, though there were a bunch. Except for "make due". Argh. It's "make do". And Edgeworth misuses "begging the question", which I may have gone on a rant about RPers doing that with him a while back. It's one of those phrases that sounds all highfalutin' logic-y, and IS, if you use it to mean what it really does. But if you just mean "suggests that the next question is", that's not it, and Edgeworth would know better.

7. I'm sort of curious about the choice on timing -- was this when Edgeworth was originally expected back from his studies abroad, cut a month short by Phoenix's impromptu rafting trip without a raft? Or are they not bothering to figure out a timeline? Oh well.

8. And in general, Edgeworth, are you considering a career change? Proving people innocent is not, in fact, your job, sweetheart. No, proving people guilty isn't either, not in that simplistic sense, but you're very focused on the "innocent" thing rather than the "real killer" or "the truth" at times. Someone *is* rubbing off on you. Crumbling bridges indeed.

9. BLOODY TRUMP CARD CAPCOM YOU COMPLETE BITCHES. Also, the phrase "seven long years" has gotten old. At least this time you were successful in counting to seven. I did end up game overing once with a long trek back because I wasn't sure if the trump card choice had alternate endings. So I saved before it and tried to coast to the end on the health I had, and was one wrong choice short. (Seriously, one. On replay, I got to where I'd died, figured out what I'd done wrong immediately and then never had another ding taken off.) It turns out there isn't much difference. Except there is -- I had a conversation at one point with someone (I think it was an anon on a secrets comm, but I could be wrong) about player choices and characterization -- they'd picked a bunch of different choices in 2-4 and really gotten a different feel for Phoenix. They're odd little slippery subtle bits of characterization there, when the end result is the same in terms of game winning/losing. (For the record, I went for the trump card off the bat, but I dithered for a long while first. I wish the game had actually gone into that a little -- what ended up happening was that the trump card (and video) were instrumental IN REVOKING Alba's diplomatic immunity -- and nothing else. Which got him to stick around long enough for proper proof, but all the real proof was "legal evidence". But they didn't really spell that out at any point.)

10. I did not go into the game expecting to like Lang. I adored him. There were a lot of new characters I liked, although not as many memorable ones as AJ -- I think partly because of the space needed for cameos, and the fact that we had more interaction with the sidekick(s). (Or, in case 5, superior. Snerk.) I also liked Badd a lot, and Kay. Yes, I liked Kay. As predicted, she's polarizing fandom, which makes me sad. She was another wacky teen-girl assistant, and I've liked all of them. And her interactions with Edgeworth and Franziska reminded me strongly of how they interacted with Maya and Pearl, so I didn't find them out of character.

11. Callisto? Interesting villain choice -- we never did figure out if she had a motive beyond LOL BETRAYAL. miss_prince said something about "Why are the pretty ones always evil", though I actually don't think that holds true for the series as a whole. Most of the Ace Attorney women are pretty -- that's just the art design -- and only some are evil. I liked that she didn't hit any stereotypes on her way down -- the AA games have generally had really awesome women, both good and evil, and I thought this one delivered on that. Yes, Lauren was irritating, but she was meant to be annoying. (She's Oldbag, minus a half-century or so.)

12. They did learn one lesson from AJ reactions -- don't overdo the flashbacks-to-things-in-game. We only got a couple, and they were appropriate. Nor did we get extensive backstory tours -- we never got the full DL-6 story at all -- just earthquake+elevator+father's murder. As far as I could see, they never actually mentioned that it was von Karma who killed him.

13. Finally, making Edgeworth run around and present his Prosecutor's Badge to everyone never gets old. (If you missed it, do make sure to do so to Ernest Amano in case 2, because that one actually gets a serious tl;dr moment on Manfred von Karma.)
Tags: phoenix wright, reviews and reactions
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